How to print a passport size photograph

Updated April 08, 2017

It is recommended that for an official passport or visa, you should have your photo taken by a photographer. In addition, grocery stores and pharmacies that have film processing and digital printing facilities usually will shoot and print passport photos on site. However, you can do it yourself. Passport photo printing is recommended primarily so that the dimensions are correct. If you follow the guidelines and print a photo of the exact dimensions, you are within your rights to shoot, print and submit your own passport head shot.

Take a passport appropriate photo. Take a head shot against any white background. Do not smile and do not cover your face with anything, such as a religious emblem or hat. Position your head straight and look forward. Unless you have a tripod and a camera with a timer setting, you will need to have someone else take the photo for you.

Transfer the digital image to a computer. You will need photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop to resize the photo to the correct dimensions. Keep the photo settings in the program to colour because black and white is unacceptable.

Crop the photo before resizing. Use the cropping tool to crop the photo to a square from just below the shoulders to just above the head.

Resize the square photo to 2 by 2 inches. In Photoshop, select "image" followed by "image size." Change the document size values (drop down menu) to read in inches. Resize the document to both a width and height of 2 inches.

Grid the photo to show dimensions. Most photo programs will have at least a side ruler to show scale measurements. In Adobe Photoshop, click the "view" button at the top of the tool bar and scroll down to "ruler." This will insert a measuring grid around the photo. Use the grid singularly to check that the distance from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head is between 1 and 1 3/8 inches. The rest of the space can be filled by your neck and shoulder. If the dimensions are off, start again by either cropping a smaller or larger selection.

Print the photograph. As the photo is already in digital form, you do not need to resize the image in the printing menu. Set your printer to print "actual size" and set the printer to photo paper type, whether glossy or semi-matt. You should only use a high quality photo printer. Print as many as you need.

Dry the printed photo before cutting. Cut directly on the photos borders, it needs to be 2x2 in physical form without white border margins.

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About the Author

Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.